The Chicago Blackhawks Have Won The Stanley Cup

Break out the rally towels, Hawks fans. Lord Stanley’s Cup is back in Illinois.

The 2014-15 NHL season drew to a dramatic close today, with the Chicago Blackhawks downing the Tampa Bay Lightning in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to clinch the series 4-2 and lift their third NHL championship in six seasons.
The Hawks clinched the series on home ice at the United Centre in Chicago – the first of their three recent cup wins to have been clinched at home – over the higher seeded Tampa Bay Lightning, with a 2-0 victory in Game 6. The margin represented the first time in the best of seven series that either team held a two goal margin over the other.
Despite falling to an early 2-1 game deficit in the series, the Hawks stormed home with grit and determination, taking the last 3 games of the series in succession over the quicker and perhaps more fancied Lightning.
But it was Tampa’s stars who faltered in the critical moments. Notably, ace centre Steven Stamkos went goalless for the entire series. Meanwhile the Hawks defence stood firm when it mattered most, with goaltender Corey Crawford producing a critical shutout – the only one of the series, and Crawford’s second of the playoffs.
A second period rebound goal from Duncan Keith opened the scoring for Game 6, capitalising on his own half-blocked shot to beat Tampa goalie Ben Bishop on the hop, high glove-side. And with 5 minutes remaining in the third and final period, the game – and cup – were sealed by Patrick Kane, again beating Bishop glove-side, following a 3-on-2 breakaway and a pair of deft assists from Brad Richards and Brendan Saad.
For his efforts throughout the series, Keith was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoffs MVP.

And after a short delay – prompting the hashtag #wheresthecup to make a quick run up the Twitter trending charts – captain Jonathan Toews hoisted the Stanley Cup for the third time in his career.

Celebrity fans such as Vince Vaughn and CM Punk were on hand for the Hawks victory.

And the rest of the 20-odd thousand in attendance, the city of Chicago, and Blackhawks fans began their celebrations that will likely stretch well into the Illinois night.

Congratulations, Chicago!
Photo: Bruce Bennett via Getty Images.